#GCHQ : `Don’t just need `Spies’ but Magicians’ that can make things `Appear like Magic’ as they `Disappear’

#AceSecurityNews says `Western Spy Agencies’ build ‘cyber magicians’ to manipulate on-line discourse! 

Published time: February 25, 2014 03:40
Edited time: February 26, 2014 16:35
 
Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ’s outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)
Secret units within the ‘Five Eyes” global spying network engage in covert on-line operations that aim to invade, deceive, and control on-line communities and individuals through the spread of false information and use of ingenious social-science tactics.

Such teams of highly trained professionals have several main objectives, such as “to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet” and “to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate on-line discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwaldreported based on intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The new information comes via a document from the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), entitled The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations,’ which is top-secret and only for dissemination within the Five Eyes intelligence partnership that includes Britain, the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

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The document outlines what tactics are used to achieve JTRIG’s main objectives. Among those tactics that seek to “discredit a target” include “false flag operations” (posting material online that is falsely attributed to a target), fake victim blog posts (writing as a victim of a target to disseminate false information), and posting “negative information” wherever pertinent online.

Other discrediting tactics used against individuals include setting a honey-trap(using sex to lure targets into compromising situations), changing a target’s photo on a social media site, and emailing or texting “colleagues, neighbours, friends etc.”

To “discredit a company,” GCHQ may “leak confidential information to companies/the press via blog…post negative information on appropriate forums [or] stop deals/ruin business relationships.”

JTRIG’s ultimate purpose, as defined by GCHQ in the document, is to use“online techniques to make something happen in the real world or cyber world.”These online covert actions follow the “4 D’s:” deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive.

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As Greenwald pointed out, the tactics employed by JTRIG are not used for spying on other nations, militaries, or intelligence services, but for “traditional law enforcement” against those merely suspected of crimes. These targets can include members of Anonymous, “hacktivists,” or really any person or entity GCHQ deems worthy of antagonizing.

“[I]t is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption,” Greenwald wrote.

In addition, the targets do not need to have ties to terror activity or pose any national security threat. More likely, targets seem to fall closer to political activists that may have, for instance, used denial of service tactics, popular with Anonymous and hacktivists, which usually do only a limited amount of damage to a target.

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“These surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they have been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats,” Greenwald wrote.

In addition to the personal attacks on targets, JTRIG also involves the use of psychological and social-science tactics to steer on-line activism and discourse. The document details GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” which focuses on “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”that are used to dissect how targets can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience,” and “compliance.”

Using tested manipulation tactics, JTRIG attempts to influence discourse and ultimately sow discord through deception.

When reached for comment by The Intercept, GCHQ avoided answering pointed questions on JTRIG while insisting its methods were legal.

“It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position,” GCHQ stated.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.orgRT 

 

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#GCHQ : “Denies `Launch of Denial-of-Service {DOS} Attack’ Against Hacktivist’s”

#AceSecurityNews says `British Spy Unit Launches DOS Cyber-Attack on Anonymous‘    

ddos-attack-concept-pd-4832425--700x525Edward Snowden‘s latest leak reveals that a division of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) launched a denial-of-service (DOS) attack against chat servers used by hacktivists, particularly Anonymous and LulzSec.

classified document obtained by NBC News reveals that the British secret service is brandishing a cyber-sword in the guise of the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), an intelligence unit not constrained by domestic or international laws.

A PowerPoint presentation prepared for a 2012 NSA conference called SIGDEV, obviously from the collection of documents obtained by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, contains information about operation ‘Rolling Thunder’ targetting Anonymous hacktivists. JTRIG organized a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack on the internet relay chat (IRC) server used by Anonymous, which reportedly resulted in 80 percent of users quitting internet chat rooms.

In June 2012, administrators of the VoxAnon IRC Network informed their users that a “heavy DOS attack” disrupted their operations.

“#VoxAnon is down due to DDOS. Haters will hate. We won’t stop doing what we do best,” they said at the time. It’s possible that the “haters” were agents of the British spy agency.

The GCHQ division is also responsible for identifying hacktivists who attacked PayPal and government websites, the documents show. Many Anonymous and LulzSec hackers had no idea that the people they were talking to were actually undercover agents.

For instance, Edward Pearson, known online as GZero, was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in 2012. GCHQ agents had been provided by Pearson with malicious code designed to infect the devices of a certain website’s visitors and turn them into botnet zombies that could be used for DDOS attacks.

The same spy unit is also said to have contributed to the arrest and conviction of Jake Davis, aka Topiary, and Mustafa al-Bassam, known as Tflow. Authorities targeted another hacktivists known as p0ke, but did not apparently indict him.

A DDoS attack is a criminal offence in most countries, the US and UK included.

For example, in the UK a person found guilty of a cyber attack would be charged in accordance with the Computer Misuse Act, while in the US such illegal activities are prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Courtesy of NBC News, Voice of Russia and RT for their Contributions:    

 

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#UK: #GCHQ Order’s Destruction of Snowden Files, Hard Drive’s, Memory Cards, Under `Watchful Gaze’ of Surveillance Agency”

#AceNewsServices says `Video Released by Guardian shows   destruction of `Snowden Fles’ on `GCHQ’s’ Orders’

guardian-destroy-snowden-video.siThe Guardian has released a video of the newspaper’s editors destroying hard drives and memory cards with encrypted files leaked by Edward Snowden – under the watchful gaze of experts from GCHQ, the government’s surveillance agency.

It is the first time the footage has been published on-line since The Guardian’s hard drives were demolished on July 20, 2013, in the basement of the newspaper’s London offices.

Three Guardian staff members – deputy editor Paul Johnson, executive director Sheila Fitzsimmons and computer expert David Blishen – are seen taking angle-grinders and drills to the internal components of computers to destroy information on them.

The journalists were watched by two Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) technical experts, named in Guardian’s recent report as“Ian” and “Chris.” They recorded the process on their iPhones.

It took three hours to smash up the computers. The journalists then fed the pieces into the GCHQ-provided degausser high-tech equipment, which destroys magnetic fields and erases data, The Guardian said.

Initially, GCHQ officials wanted to inspect the material before destruction, carry out the operation themselves and take the remnants away. But the Guardian refused to let them.

The classified information was stored on four computers, none of which was ever connected to the Internet or any other network.

The UK government saw the destruction of the computers as a way to stop further publications of leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It gave The Guardian an ultimatum to either hand the Snowden material back, destroy it, or face an injunction. UK Prime Minister David Cameron sent Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood to convey the message.

“We can do this nicely or we can go to law,” Heywood told The Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger during one of their meetings in June and July.

“A lot of people in government think you should be closed down,” he added, The Guardian reported.

Initially reluctant to comply with the government’s demand, The Guardian eventually took the decision to demolish the hard drives with the information on them – as it was seen as the only way to protect the newspaper and its team.

The measure, however, did not stop the flow of #NSA- and #GCHQ- related revelations. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger told government officials that several copies of the secret documents existed, but only one in the UK. It was known that The Guardian’s columnist Glenn Greenwald, who met Snowden in Hong Kong, had leaked material in Rio de Janeiro. There were further copies in the US, according to Rusbridger.

After the destruction of the hard drives, the paper continued to consult with the government before publishing national security stories.

“There were more than 100 interactions with No. 10 Downing Street, the White House and US and UK intelligence agencies,” The Guardian said in a recent report.

The release of the video comes a week before a new book by Guardian correspondent Luke Harding, “The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man,” is due to be published.

 

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#GCHQ `Taught’ #NSA : How to `Monitor’ our `Social Media Sites’ in Real-Time”

#AceSecurityNews says `GCHQ‘ taught `NSA’how to monitor Facebook, Twitter in real-time #Snowden leak

British intelligence officials can infiltrate the very cables that transfer information across the internet,British intelligence officials can infiltrate the very cables that transfer information across the internet, as well as monitor users in real-time on sites like Facebook without the company’s consent, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

The internal documents reveal that British analysts gave instruction to members of the National Security Agency in 2012, showing them how to spy on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in real-time and collect the computer addresses of billions of the sites’ up-loaders.

The leaked documents are from a #GCHQ publication titled ‘Psychology: A New Kind of SIGDEV’ (Signals Development). Published by NBC News on Monday, the papers detail a program dubbed ‘Squeaky Dolphin,’ which was developed for analysts working in “broad real-time monitoring of online activity.”

Sources told NBC that the British have proven their ability to both directly monitor the world’s web traffic cable and use a third-party to view the data stream and extract information from it.

Representatives from the companies in question said they have not provided any data to the government of the United Kingdom under this program, either voluntarily or involuntarily. One person who wished to remain anonymous said that Google, the company that owns YouTube, was “shocked” to discover the UK may have been “grabbing” data for years.

Previously published disclosures have made it clear that the US and UK are sharing intelligence tactics. The Washington Post reported in October 2013 that the #NSA and #GCHQ collaborated on a program known as MUSCULAR, which the agencies used to record “entire data flows” from Yahoo and Google.

Security officials have consistently maintained that the programs are authorized under the laws of their respective nation and that the surveillance is designed only as a tool for preventing terrorism. Still, the lack of transparency has left civil liberties advocates searching for more answers.

Governments have no business knowing which YouTube videos everyone in the world is watching,Chris Soghoian, chief technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, told NBC. “It’s one thing to spy on a particular person who has done something to warrant a government investigation but governments have no business monitoring the Facebook likes or YouTube views of hundreds of millions of people.”

When members of GCHQ delivered the presentation to NSA officials, they showed the Americans how to carry out the surveillance by extracting information from YouTube, Facebook, and Google’s Blogger service on February 13, 2012 – one day before anti-government protests were to begin in Bahrain.

According to the documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the presenters were careful to mention that the intelligence gathering was not designed to monitor specific targets. “Not interested in individuals just broad trends!” one note reads.

Jason Healey, a former White House official under President George W. Bush, told NBC such activity not only sends a shiver through the public but has also become an impediment for Silicon Valley executives and the thriving social media industry.

We want our security services to be out there and keeping us safe,” he said, “but we can also look for balance, we can look for limits, especially if we’re putting at risk this most transformative technology since Gutenberg.”

 

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#NSA & #GCHQ : “Collects Millions of SMS Text Messages`More than Any other Data’ Daily”

#AceSecurityNews says just hours ahead of a speech in which United States President Barack Obama will announce changes to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, newly leaked documents reveal the NSA collects hundreds of millions of text messages a day.

NSA-SMS2The results of a joint investigation conducted by Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Channel 4 News has revealed that the NSA and its UK sister-agency, the GCHQ, pair two previously unreported and top-secret national security programs to collect in bulk and then analyze millions of SMS text messages and other digital data sent around the world each day.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who left the US last year with a trove of sensitive intelligence documents, supplied the outlets with the evidence, both outlets reported on Thursday.

Mr. Snowden, 30, has shared files contained within a cache of pilfered NSA documents with select reporters in the seven months since he first helped reveal that the NSA has in total secrecy been compelling the nation’s major telecommunications companies to routinely give up the metadata records of millions of customers daily. Pres. Obama is expected to announce changes to that program during a rare address this Friday.

sms.siWith only hours to spare, however, the commander-in-chief may now be stuck scrambling to put together an explanation to warrant to the world the latest NSA revelation to be made public by Mr. Snowden.

According to leaked files obtained by the British media, the NSA has collected nearly 200 million text messages from the world’s cellphones every single day, occasionally using those records to further extract sensitive information such as location data, address book contacts and even financial details.

One program, code-named Dishfire, collects “pretty much everything it can,” a document cited by the Guardian reads. Once that information is logged, another tool known as “Prefer” conducts what the paper calls “automated analysis” of untargeted communication.

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#NSA and #CIA Spied on “World of Warcraft Games” and On-line Games

World of Spycraft: NSA and CIA Spied in Online Games

 

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times, Dec. 9, 2013, 7 a.m.

 

This story has been reported in partnership between The New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica based on documents obtained by The Guardian.

 

Editor says this is a Copyrighted Article courtesy of ProPublica and The New York Times.  

 

Banner made for WikiProject Warcraft. Made by ...

Banner made for WikiProject Warcraft. Made by Havok. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

 

Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

 

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.

 

Online games might seem innocuous, a top-secret 2008 NSA document warned, but they had the potential to be a “target-rich communication network” allowing intelligence suspects “a way to hide in plain sight.” Virtual games “are an opportunity!,” another 2008 NSA document declared.

 

But for all their enthusiasm — so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.

 

The documents do not cite any counterterrorism successes from the effort, and former American intelligence officials, current and former gaming company employees and outside experts said in interviews that they knew of little evidence that terrorist groups viewed the games as havens to communicate and plot operations.

 

Games “are built and operated by companies looking to make money, so the players’ identity and activity is tracked,” said Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, an author of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.” “For terror groups looking to keep their communications secret, there are far more effective and easier ways to do so than putting on a troll avatar.”

 

The surveillance, which also included Microsoft’s Xbox Live, could raise privacy concerns. It is not clear exactly how the agencies got access to gamers’ data or communications, how many players may have been monitored or whether Americans’ communications or activities were captured.

 

One American company, the maker of World of Warcraft, said that neither the NSA nor its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, had gotten permission to gather intelligence in its game. Many players are Americans, who can be targeted for surveillance only with approval from the nation’s secret intelligence court. The spy agencies, though, face far fewer restrictions on collecting certain data or communications overseas.

 

“We are unaware of any surveillance taking place,” said a spokesman for Blizzard Entertainment, based in Irvine, Calif., which makes World of Warcraft. “If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission.”

 

A spokeswoman for Microsoft declined to comment. Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life and a former chief executive officer of Linden Lab, the game’s maker, declined to comment on the spying revelations. Current Linden executives did not respond to requests for comment.

 

A Government Communications Headquarters spokesman would neither confirm nor deny any involvement by that agency in gaming surveillance, but said that its work is conducted under “a strict legal and policy framework” with rigorous oversight. An NSA spokeswoman declined to comment.

 

Intelligence and law enforcement officials became interested in games after some became enormously popular, drawing tens of millions of people worldwide, from preteens to retirees. The games rely on lifelike graphics, virtual currencies and the ability to speak to other players in real-time. Some gamers merge the virtual and real worlds by spending long hours playing and making close online friends.

 

In World of Warcraft, players share the same fantasy universe — walking around and killing computer-controlled monsters or the avatars of other players, including elves, animals or creatures known as orcs. In Second Life, players create customized human avatars that can resemble themselves or take on other personas — supermodels and bodybuilders are popular — who can socialize, buy and sell virtual goods, and go places like beaches, cities, art galleries and strip clubs. In Microsoft’s Xbox Live service, subscribers connect online in games that can involve activities like playing soccer or shooting at each other in space.

 

According to American officials and documents that Mr. Snowden provided to The Guardian, which shared them with The New York Times and ProPublica, spy agencies grew worried that terrorist groups might take to the virtual worlds to establish safe communications channels.

 

In 2007, as the NSA and other intelligence agencies were beginning to explore virtual games, NSA officials met with the chief technology officer for the manufacturer of Second Life, the San Francisco-based Linden Lab. The executive, Cory Ondrejka, was a former Navy officer who had worked at the NSA with a top-secret security clearance.

 

He visited the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., in May 2007 to speak to staff members over a brown bag lunch, according to an internal agency announcement. “Second Life has proven that virtual worlds of social networking are a reality: come hear Cory tell you why!” said the announcement. It added that virtual worlds gave the government the opportunity “to understand the motivation, context and consequent behaviors of non-Americans through observation, without leaving U.S. soil.”

 

Ondrejka, now the director of mobile engineering at Facebook, said through a representative that the NSA presentation was similar to others he gave in that period, and declined to comment further.

 

Even with spies already monitoring games, the NSA thought it needed to step up the effort.

 

“The Sigint Enterprise needs to begin taking action now to plan for collection, processing, presentation and analysis of these communications,” said one April 2008 NSA document, referring to “signals intelligence.” The document added, “With a few exceptions, NSA can’t even recognize the traffic,” meaning that the agency could not distinguish gaming data from other Internet traffic.

 

By the end of 2008, according to one document, the British spy agency, known as GCHQ, had set up its “first operational deployment into Second Life” and had helped the police in London in cracking down on a crime ring that had moved into virtual worlds to sell stolen credit card information. The British spies running the effort, which was code-named “Operation Galician,” were aided by an informer using a digital avatar “who helpfully volunteered information on the target group’s latest activities.”

 

Though the games might appear to be unregulated digital bazaars, the companies running them reserve the right to police the communications of players and store the chat dialogues in servers that can be searched later. The transactions conducted with the virtual money common in the games, used in World of Warcraft to buy weapons and potions to slay monsters, are also monitored by the companies to prevent illicit financial dealings.

 

In the 2008 NSA document, titled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” the agency said that “terrorist target selectors” — which could be a computer’s Internet Protocol address or an email account — “have been found associated with Xbox Live, Second Life, World of Warcraft” and other games. But that document does not present evidence that terrorists were participating in the games.

 

Still, the intelligence agencies found other benefits in infiltrating these online worlds. According to the minutes of a January 2009 meeting, GCHQ’s “network gaming exploitation team” had identified engineers, embassy drivers, scientists and other foreign intelligence operatives to be World of Warcraft players — potential targets for recruitment as agents.

 

At Menwith Hill, a Royal Air Force base in the Yorkshire countryside that the NSA has long used as an outpost to intercept global communications, American and British intelligence operatives started an effort in 2008 to begin collecting data from World of Warcraft.

 

One NSA document said that the World of Warcraft monitoring “continues to uncover potential Sigint value by identifying accounts, characters and guilds related to Islamic extremist groups, nuclear proliferation and arms dealing.” In other words, targets of interest appeared to be playing the fantasy game, though the document does not indicate that they were doing so for any nefarious purposes. A British document from later that year said that GCHQ had “successfully been able to get the discussions between different game players on Xbox Live.”

 

By 2009, the collection was extensive. One document says that while GCHQ was testing its ability to spy on Second Life in real time, British intelligence officers vacuumed up three days’ worth of Second Life chat, instant message and financial transaction data, totaling 176,677 lines of data, which included the content of the communications.

 

For their part, players have openly worried that the NSA might be watching them.

 

In one World of Warcraft discussion thread, begun just days after the first Snowden revelations appeared in the news media in June, a human death knight with the user name “Crrassus” asked whether the NSA might be reading game chat logs.

 

“If they ever read these forums,” wrote a goblin priest with the user name “Diaya,” “they would realize they were wasting” their time.

 

Even before the American government began spying in virtual worlds, the Pentagon had identified the potential intelligence value of video games. The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command in 2006 and 2007 worked with several foreign companies — including an obscure digital media business based in Prague — to build games that could be downloaded to mobile phones., according to people involved in the effort. They said the games, which were not identified as creations of the Pentagon, were then used as vehicles for intelligence agencies to collect information about the users.

 

Eager to cash in on the government’s growing interest in virtual worlds, several large private contractors have spent years pitching their services to American intelligence agencies. In one 66-page document from 2007, part of the cache released by Mr. Snowden, the contracting giant SAIC promoted its ability to support “intelligence collection in the game space,” and warned that online games could be used by militant groups to recruit followers and could provide “terrorist organizations with a powerful platform to reach core target audiences.”

 

It is unclear whether SAIC received a contract based on this proposal, but one former SAIC employee said that the company at one point had a lucrative contract with the CIA for work that included monitoring the Internet for militant activity. An SAIC spokeswoman declined to comment.

 

In spring 2009, academics and defense contractors gathered at the Marriott at Washington Dulles International Airport to present proposals for a government study about how players’ behavior in a game like World of Warcraft might be linked to their real-world identities. “We were told it was highly likely that persons of interest were using virtual spaces to communicate or coordinate,” said Dmitri Williams, a professor at the University of Southern California who received grant money as part of the program.

 

After the conference, both SAIC and Lockheed Martin won contracts worth several million dollars, administered by an office within the intelligence community that finances research projects.

 

It is not clear how useful such research might be. A group at the Palo Alto Research Center, for example, produced a government-funded study of World of Warcraft that found “younger players and male players preferring competitive, hack-and-slash activities, and older and female players preferring noncombat activities,” such as exploring the virtual world. A group from the nonprofit SRI International, meanwhile, found that players under age 18 often used all capital letters both in chat messages and in their avatar names.

 

Those involved in the project were told little by their government patrons. According to Nick Yee, a Palo Alto researcher who worked on the effort, “We were specifically asked not to speculate on the government’s motivations and goals.”

 

Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting.

 

Editor says this is a Copy Righted Article Courtesy of ProPublica and The New York Times. 

 

LIVE DISCUSSION: What are intelligence agencies doing in virtual worlds? Join ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott and New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti this Monday, Dec. 9, at 2 pm ET to discuss. Submit your questions here or on Twitter with the hashtag #spygames.

 

Editor says this is a Copy Righted Article courtesy of ProPublica and The New York Times. 

 

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Author and Investigative Journalist Wayne Madsen says US and UK Government Spying is Nothing New

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The US and British governments’ spying on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is nothing new, says American author and investigative journalist Wayne Madsen.

Based on documents obtained from former intelligence contractor #Edward-Snowden, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Monday that the US National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters are both spying on OPEC.

According to the documents obtained by Der Spiegel, the NSA and the GCHQ have infiltrated OPEC’s computer systems to access an internal study in the organization’s research division.

“The National Security Agency and the GCHQ, its British counterpart, are very much involved in surveillance to get a hold of economic and political intelligence,” said Madsen in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

“So, why would they be interested in OPEC? Well, they’ve always been interested in OPEC. OPEC was the target for the NSA and the GCHQ surveillance way back in the 70s during the oil embargos by the Arab members of the OPEC organization. They want to know what the plans are for price increases or production increases. This is why the listen in on OPEC,” he added.

Documents after documents disclosed by Snowden since June have shed some light on the scope and scale of US spying activities across the globe.

Some documents showed that US spy agencies hacked into the computer systems of other countries’ diplomatic missions.

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham

A model of the GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The leaked documents also revealed that Washington has eavesdropped on phone calls of at least 35 world leaders including that of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of Europe’s most influential leaders.

Cortesy of: PressTV, Der Speigel,

#acesecuritynews, #angela-merkel, #der-spiegel, #gchq, #government-communications-headquarters, #national-security-agency, #nsa, #opec, #united-states, #wayne-madsen